Eagles have inspired people over centuries — indeed, millennia — across cultures and around the world.

Soon to be housed in a magnificent new museum on the banks of the Mississippi River in Wabasha, Minnesota, the Preston Cook Collection will celebrate and showcase how American culture and societies throughout the world have embraced eagles as a symbol of vision, courage, power, strength, protection, and freedom.

Gathered over fifty years, the collection comprises more than 25,000 items representing eagles throughout American history and culture. It covers a wide range of historical art and artifacts and includes paintings, textiles, works of art on paper, photographs, magazines, books, toys, jewelry, sculptures, stamps, and many more objects that bear the eagle insignia.

The National Eagle Center is proud to be the home of the Preston Cook Collection. Preview exhibits from the collection are currently on display in the second floor gallery.

To learn more about the Preston Cook Collection and how you can support the creation of this new world-class museum, visit the organization’s website:


Museum renderings (above, left) courtesy of LHB architects. National Eagle Center brochure cover (above).


“You can’t have too many eagles.”

In October 1966 I was drafted into the United States Army and issued a dress uniform, including a jacket that had gold-plated brass buttons with an eagle stamped on each one. When I was discharged two years later, I cut the buttons from my uniform and saved them, and eventually sewed them onto a blue civilian blazer… “You can’t have too many eagles,” the impetuous Murray Burns says in A Thousand Clowns, a film I saw for the first time four months before I was drafted. If any philosophy guided my early collecting efforts, it was that.

Excerpt from Preston Cook’s Preface in American Eagle: A Visual History of Our National Emblem.